It’s THE BLOG!!!

I never thought i would need a blog. They just always seem  HUGE!!  I mean who needs to say that much stuff!! Well took a long time but  i have a topic I am apparently more passionate about than seams reasonable for the space on Facebook. SO, i have been learning how to use WordPress. It is a little more complicated than i expected. Well wait, let me qualify that statement. It is quite easy if you just want to write words. But as most of you know i am difficult. I am an ARTIST so i want pictures in my Blog too. SO at first it may seem kind of bland but it will get more exciting as i get better at the programming aspect of this stuff.  For now i give you…


Mainstreaming, inclusion, or something else… is it working for all students??

Before i start let me say i am an art teacher. I do not currently teach in a school but i love kids. ALL KIDS and i want the best FOR THEM. Not for their parents or society but for THEM. So don’t attack based on you are prejudice against kids with a handicap because i am not.I want them to get the best education THEY can get that works for THEM.  OK!!


My experience in school
When i was a kid in grade school there was no such thing. In the 60-70s Handicapped kids or”retarded” kids learned in their own classroom ours happen to be like the kindergarten kids they had a trailer out behind the school. We never saw them except for a fleeting glance when they went by to go in or out. This was obviously not the best method of teaching since we didn’t know how to deal with them as people and mostly just made fun of them it is not nice but it was the way it was until we got older. In middle school and high school i really don’t remember many kids there so i am assuming it was the same situation. I was too busy trying to fit in and be cool and not do anything to make me stick out in front of the other kids so i honestly don’t remember which is kinda sad in itself.

 Grade School

The first experience i have had with mainstreaming came at my son’s elementary school with a girl    in his class. She was a very sweet girl with severe handicaps. She was in a wheel chair and could not speak or move around other than one hand. She was able to communicate with a board she would use to touch words that would speak for her. She was in my son’s class and they would all play games with her and teach her things with her aid.  Everyday i would pick my son up at school and i would come in to the office to retrieve his card so i could take him at the end of the day when he was dismissed to the cafe. She would be there with the secretary and her aid and would hand the card to the parents that the secretary gave to her stretching out as far as she could and would smile and was excited you could see to be doing a job. This made me think that mainstreaming was working and was a great thing for this girl and for the kids in her class every one seemed happy and proud.

Boy Scouts
Image result for boy scouts disability awareness merit badge

We have several  badges dedicated to disability awareness. In our troop we are required to do the badge since one of our troop leaders has some. He was in an accident and had head trauma when he was younger that caused him some damage. He is a great counselor to the boys and works very hard especially with the kids in our troop that have a disability. He is unable to drive but has a job at a place that specializes in hiring people with disabilities. The boys go there and meet some of the people as part of their training and learn a lot from that badge.

Fast forward to Middle School

Image result for middle school

Anyone who has a middle school child or was one knows tween kids can be assholes. My kid is no different. There are times he is amazing and so caring and helpful and other times you want to strangle them. Between the hormones and the learning and the social interaction their lives are volatile to say the least.  Think Diary of a wimpy kid.

In my son’s class there is a boy who has some severe disabilities however not like the girl in gradeschool.  Outwardly he looks normal to people. He lives down the street from us with his grandparent, mother and aunt who i understand is house bound due to a handicap also. I met them one time at the bus stop with my son. Having worked with kids before i noticed something was off with him right away but I am not a special education teacher so i could not tell you what he was just overly awkward. This boy was mainstreamed in my son’s class from in grade school also but not in a way that would single him out. My son thought, til last year he was just annoying and not special needs in any way. The kids are mean to him mostly because they think he is just being annoying on purpose. But he is not.  I have gotten a call from the principal about interactions with this boy on the bus making me have to give my son the riot act and tell him to not interact with this boy and to tell him you are not allowed to play or talk to him. Apparently my son went as far as to say he would call the police if this boy came to our yard again.

Last year i was at Walmart and was approached by this boy. Who i met one time.
I am a face painter and art teacher so kids come up to say hello all the time and i
am used to it. But this boy came running up to me with a cast in the store and hugged me.
He is 14 boys this age do not usually hug anyone. We met one time.
HI MRS SHARKEY!! You are Jack’s Mom. I asked about his arm and he told me a boy at school had broken it. by now Mom came over she also seems to have some symptoms of issue. but blurted out her son was  recently diagnosed with sever Aspergers (I looked this up at home for clarification it is mildly autistic with synonyms that include difficulty picking up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others’ body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking. Dislike any changes in routines. Appear to lack empathy.

These are not symptoms that are welcomed in Middle School.

My Son has had several occasions where this boy has interrupted conversations with girls touching them in odd ways or communicating with people he thinks are his friends that are not you can imagine tweens do not like this behavior. But they think he is on the same emotional level with them so they judge him harshly.  My son argues with me on that point.

Today we had a delayed opening 90 minutes due to weather. My son was in the shower when the door bell rang. This boy who knows my son doesn’t want to hang out with him, has been told my son is not ALLOWED to hang out with him asked me “I was wondering if i could hang out with jack for bit before school starts.” I told him no honey Jack is in the shower getting ready for school. “Oh ok.” At first when i told my son he was angry but i explained how sad it was that he had no place to go that he would come here. I can’t MAKE my son like this boy anymore than i can MAKE him remember to take out the trash.  And i keep thinking this is one of those situations where This boy is going to hurt someone or himself because of the way he is being treated.

Image result for piranha tank

In this situation i have no doubt that Mainstreaming is not helping this child. If he were in a class with children his on mental age or with similar issues to deal with he would maybe find a friend to understand what he is going through. Throwing a child with these issues into a middle school and high school atmosphere is like dropping a mouse into a tank of piranha. I think is it made even worse that they do not disclose the issue to the kids probably so this boy doesn’t feel singled out and made
fun of.  But you can’t imagine that middle school children who are at the apex of meanness due to their own emotional hormonal issues should not react negatively to a person with symptoms like

While all children with AS are different, their unusual social skills and obsessive interests tend to set them apart from their peers. They may have in common some or all of the following symptoms:

  • may have an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects
  • may strongly prefer repetitive routines or rituals and becomes upset at any small changes
  • may memorize information and facts easily, especially information related to a topic of interest
  • may have clumsy, uncoordinated movements, an odd posture or a rigid gait
  • may perform repetitive movements, such as hand or finger flapping
  • may engage in violent outbursts, self-injurious behaviors, tantrums or meltdowns
  • may be hypersensitive to sensory stimulation such as light, sound, and texture
  • may “day dream” or “zone out” when overstimulated

SO my question is this. With this boy who are we doing a favor to by putting him in a mainstream situation? He can not be happy since he is not accepted by his peers and has a difficult time fitting in. He is from what my son says, disruptive to the class with outbursts to the teacher and class making learning difficult for everyone involved. They are not telling the kids his problem so they assume he is just being difficult however he is not punished for his behavior which makes them angry at him for not being called out for acting this way when they are punished for doing similar things. I know i am going to get called out on this but not every child should be in the main stream.

I say this not for my sons convenience but it makes me sad to see this boy struggle and makes me worry for his and other children’s safety with him getting older, larger and more frustrated with fitting in. What is the answer to this i am looking on line for suggestions but welcome any and all comments as usual from parents of average and special kids.

I just don’t want us all to end up on the news.

Image result for happy children


Privilege/ “White Privilege” and who is to blame??

My HOT TOPIC of the day is this new phrase we are all throwing around.
It has probably been around for along time just popularized now

In the 1980s Peggy McIntosh, a Women’s Studies scholar at Wellesley wrote a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women’s Studies.”

Privilege/ “White Privilege”

From Wikipedia so it MUST be true Peggy McIntosh is an American feminist and anti-racism activist, the associate director of the Wellesley Centers for Women says whites in Western societies enjoy advantages that non-whites do not experience, as “an invisible package of unearned assets“. White privilege denotes both obvious and less obvious passive advantages that white people may not recognize they have, which distinguishes it from overt bias or prejudice.
SO even if you are not prejudice which i believe EVERYONE is in one way or another you are.

So here is my question if people who are white are privileged and that is why we can not get along in the USA then WHY do blacks and whites live pretty seamlessly in the UK? Did Briton not have slaves? No they did and truthfully they were the ones who made a bunch of money off the trafficking of slaves to America. But lets not pick on the the Brits there is plenty of blame to go around on that mess.


I was reading from a black American living in the UK named  Angela Mackie-Rutledge who said there were more interracial relation ships there,  and people who have lived in the UK for years now tend to assimilate more into the British culture and thus face less racism than black people who have just immigrated from Africa or the Caribbean. She also mentioned that in the UK racism is defined differently.

“Racism v National Origin
I have found it very interesting that what Americans call “national origin” is referred to as race here.  For instance, if someone made a derogatory comment about Welsh people it would be construed as a racist statement — even if the person saying it was white.”

SO what if it has nothing to do with skin color.

What if the real issue is white black or green
Anti-Privileged = poorly educated, groups with few opportunities & jobs.

SO how do we fix that problem? Some people like to say we can not the system is flawed against people and so they are set up to fail and there is no way out of the situation. End of story. Sounds like a defeatist attitude to me.

My BIG issue is

when you say privileged or white privilege it makes it sound like that person is better than the unprivileged person. That’s just not the case. Anyone can succeed if they want to and if they have the right circumstances.

I am in favor of school choice for that exact reason if your neighborhood school sucks you should be able to choose another and if that crappy school doesn’t get any money they are a lousy school and should be gutted and started over.

Lots of kids in Salem NH are not “supposed” to be here that is a FACT many teachers will attest to they “live with” grandparents or whatever excuse they give because their Mass schools suck. I don’t blame them for having to cheat the system because the system is broke. But we need to help them to help themselves and then the people who want to succeed will. But we are not helping the “underprivileged” by propping them up and expecting them to thrive. There are schools where the teachers send home food for the children for the weekend because they “KNOW” they will not eat if they do not. WHAT is THAT !! in America where we have food stamps and welfare there are still children who are not eating?? Flawed system. Drugs are a huge problem in NH and that is a lot of the problem i know and we have less issues up here with black and white and more black and white vs Hispanic. But people do not “dislike” each other because of color or ethnicity. They dislike each other because of actions.

If you hate from me because i am “privileged” and you are not isn’t that just as bad? You are hating me because of something i apparently had no control over. I disagree the word as a whole.

Privilege : a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only
to a particular person or group of people.

What about J K Rowling who wrote Harry Potter as she lived in her car with her children homeless. Was she privileged? No. She is now! She was talented! And worked hard to get what she deserved. She could have given up and just said well the system is stacked against me I will never amount to anything. Like Oprah. She did pretty well for herself.

I am not saying some people have it easier than others but some people have been here longer a person whose grandparents came over from somewhere else and worked all their lives in a mill so their kids could work all their lives at factory so there kids could be the first in the family to go to college and took years to pay off their loans so THEIR kids could go to college is naturally going to be in better shape than a person that just got here.

A person who’s parents were junkies and had to quit school and get a job so their family could eat or join the military so their family could have a place to live and be able to go to college for is going to have to work hard to make it.

What about the mom who worked and went to night school so she could support her family after her husband left.  I don’t care if these people were black, white or purple they deserve what they got cause they earned it.  They did not just arrive off the boat and have the government say welcome to America here is a house, food and healthcare but that is ANOTHER whole BLOG!

But the blame game isn’t going to make it any easier it is only dividing us into groups again when we are trying to get along every day in our own towns don’t let the media and government break us into groups we are all Americans and we need to remember we may not be perfect but we are a lot better off than a lot of countries and we got this way by working at it for a long fricking time.

“When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact…that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast to his scientific and technological abundance; We’ve learned to fly the air like birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas like fish, and yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters…”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

National Endowment for the Arts

SO as an artist it worried me when people said the new Prez is going to cut the NEA.

Would he cut something so important?! Something so GREAT that means to me than any other dumb thing we fund??! WHY?! WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!!!

Then when i stopped panicking, Ok lets be an adult..why would this be happening.
I had some chocolate and then I did some research. Because as we know Knowledge is Power.

I found out some interesting things,  SO many interesting things in fact i learned how to use word press so i could express them all in one spot.

SO to begin what is the NEA…

Well their website says :

The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

Well that sounds like a great thing i am all for that!!

SO i started reading their PDF files on how to get money… well that is where it gets more complex.
IF you would like to get money you need to be:

TO BE ELIGIBLE, AN APPLICANT ORGANIZATION MUST: • Be nonprofit, tax-exempt. • Have a three-year history of programming. • Meet reporting requirements on any previous NEA awards. organization is limited to one application per year. Assistance is not available for general operating or seasonal support; the creation of new organizations; the construction, purchase, or renovation of facilities; or directly for individual elementary or secondary schools— charter, private, or public.

Ummmm well that cuts out most of the categories i would like to see get some funds.

SO i set out to find out some of the people who have gotten grants from the NEA a little more difficult to find online. I assumed they would proudly display all the grants on their site. So far not much luck. Some of them are prominently displayed and while i was searching i found the Qand A so thought i would check out that page on that i found out there is a NEA Inspector General Ronald
Stith ( I wanna say Sith but he is the good guy) he was appointed last june and he has been BUSY!!

There are a lot of documents in that area but i be damned if i can figure out what the hell they do.
I was looking for a sum up section where they say how much they saved by having the IG checking them out but i am wondering if it is costing more to have the department of people who oversee
than it is finding out what the hell is going on??? Still reading ill let you know.

OH in case any of you are looking for a career change
These are the current openings

Special Assistant to the Executive Director (GS-0301-9/11)
President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities
Salary: $54,972.00 to $86,460.00 / Per Year
and a
Systems Accountant (GS-0510-13/13)
Office of Finance
Salary: $94,796.00 to $123,234.00 / Per Year
Open: Friday, January 13, 2017 to Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Glass door

is a site that allows employees and former empolyees to post about a business so you can decide if you want to work there.
A few quotes

Offices often empty due to teleworking, open plan offices mean you can hear everything everyone is saying, government structure can be overly rigid, uncertainty of funding year to year

The people who work at the NEA aren’t the sharpest, especially at the GS13 level and above.

Advice to Management
It’s time to realize technology has made the Endowment obsolete. Keep the money at the local level and skip this unnecessary bureaucracy and expense so far removed from the beneficiaries.

long time employees are ambivalent

Too much micro-management from senior leadership. There’s a somewhat paranoid atmosphere because of senior leadership style. Leadership not very friendly.

Should be less secrecy and more transparency.
Trust employees to do the work you hired them to do.

Interview: Submitted app thought USAjobs. Took 3 months to hear back. Called in for interview. It was clear they wanted someone younger than most of the applicants so I got the job.


I am going to take this moment to say i am not going to discuss what should for should not be considered art since i do not really understand or appreciate modern art. I will allow that some

modern are is well thought out and presented while others seem hastily put together and do not appeal to me. But for the sake of this argument lets assume all the art they fund is ‘GOOD ART”.

I know that is not to be true in my personal opinion and that some is more controversial than others. This also brings up an argument we have in the body painting field all the time. Is body painting pornography or art. Well it’s not pornography; except when it is.
That said i am against spending federal dollars on porn, or art that denigrates ANY religion or religious figures or is made of feces. That is just my personal opinion. I am sure there are plenty of people out there that will pay their hard earned cash for those themes but i am not one of them.
HOWEVER lets leave that argument out for now. K?


I found Alice Goldfarb Marquis is an author who wrote the book Art Lessons: Learning from the Rise and Fall of Public Arts Funding i am looking into ordering it sound interesting but her take is that that approximately half of NEA funds go to organizations that lobby the government for more money.  and  19 percent of their total budget is spent on administrative expenses. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of money left for the children. She also claims there have been many reorganizations with in the agency during administrations on both sides of the aisle however it
has not done any good.

Another problem i have with the system for ALL grants is they make it so difficult to fill out the paperwork you need to be an official “Grant Writer” just to get one. Sound like that would weed out most of the artists i know who would rather be creating art than sitting and writing a grant not to mention you need to come up with matching funds most times so if you would like 10,000 you need
to HAVE 10,000 to start out. THAT ALSO excludes most of the artists i know.

Today i learned some of the history of the NEA

It was started in 1964 by Lyndon Johnson who wanted to

NEA operations are overseen by a Chairman, who is appointed by the President. Providing the Chairman with expert advice is the National Council on the Arts, a board consisting of six members of Congress, and 14 people knowledgeable in the arts,

In the 1980s there were probles over art that was considered controversial by Andres Serrano (aka peed on Jesus photo ) and then again in the 1990s with Robert Mapplethorpe which when i googled I ended up with a dildo in the bum photo…hmmm

Congress responded by passing a law in 1990 requiring that the agency only fund works that meet “general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American public.” This law was the first content restriction that Congress had ever placed on the NEA.

The “NEA Four“, Karen Finley, Tim Miller, John Fleck, and Holly Hughes, were performance artists whose proposed grants from the United States government’s National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) were vetoed by John Frohnmayer in June

Was Karen Finley’s performance in which she “appeared on stage partially clothed, her body smeared with melted chocolate and alfalfa sprouts to symbolize denigration of women by forcing them to wallow in excrement and sperm” art that served the American people and therefore should have been entitled to government support?

Why can’t I get a grant for rubbing myself in chocolate or drinking an eyeball?? You must first pass through a peer review panel. How do they choose these peers??


How do they choose who will recieve a grant? With a peer review panel the rules for the peers were developed with a list of three criteria

  1.  appointments must be merit based;
  2. appointees must serve the panel as individuals, and may not make decisions based on any particular interest group, institution or viewpoint;
  3. the panels must be insulated from external pressures.

Gene Veith, a Wisconsin arts administrator, agrees that elitism is a problem. He writes that “artists no longer have to create works that appeal to the public. They have to create works that appeal to the grants makers.” This problem, he contends, “is multiplied in its effect when state governments, corporations, and even private buyers…defer to the same [NEA] peer-review panels.”

A little like the how the teachers in school teach to the test now instead of just teaching the subjects to the classes.

NEA opponents apply a “survival of the fittest” philosophy to the arts. If an arts program can only survive on government money, they contend, perhaps it shouldn’t exist at all. If artists have something of value to offer society, they argue, then people will buy their paintings, books, or recordings, or go to the theater to view their plays and movies.

I also wonder if this is one of the reasons people don’t value artists monetarily as they do other professions.

from their website:

Transparency and Confidentiality

at NEA We seek to make our review process  as transparent as possible, while
protecting the confidentiality of applicants, panelists, staff, and Council members. Our advisory panel meetings are announced in the Federal Register and panelists’ names are listed on our website once grants are announced. The public may not, however, attend panel meetings or Council sessions in which confidential application information is discussed. The names of applicants are kept confidential except for those who receive grants. We announce the names of grantees on our website. Sample application narratives from some grantees also may viewed on our website. Applicants not recommended for funding are notified. After notification, any applicant may ask for comments on their application. In such instances, we must be contacted no later than 30 days after the official notification.

Sounds transparent to me…?

Well you can search online to see who gets the grants or got them last years there are SO many things you need to choose from the menus making it difficult to get results however for NH it seem
Portsmouth and Concord get all the money.  Still looking at this tomorrow.